The Pitti Palace, and the amazing art collections contained within, stands as a strong expression of power of the Medici Dukes. The prominent family returned to Florence in the 16th and 17th centuries, after having previously led Florence through the Renaissance. During their second rule, the new branch of Medici transformed Florence into a monarchy, becoming the Dukes of Tuscany and undisputed rulers of Florence. They moved their household into an even larger, more extravagant palace—the Palazzo Pitti, a powerful symbol of wealth and influence. This three hour Pitti Palace tour, led by an art historian, explores the fabulous art and object collections of the several royal families who have made the mansion home—the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy—as well as the building's stunning architecture.
Pitti Palace Tour
While touring the Palazzo Pitti, the majority of our time will be spent picking apart the illustrious Palatine Gallery, once used as part of the Medici winter apartments, and now lined with the Medici art collection. The collection, anything but modest, boasts a hallway of ancient Roman statues from the Villa Medici in Rome, and walls filled with Renaissance and Baroque art, including works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Florentine artists Filippo Lippi and Andrea del Sarto, among others. The wall to wall art collection is all displayed in the royal setting of the palace, complete with luxurious drapery, antique furniture, and other remnants of the opulent life lived by the monarchy.
From there, time permitting, we may browse through the extensive collections of silver, mostly stemming from the Lorraine family, who received the objects as gifts from the bishop of Salzburg, jewelry from the most prestigious manufacturers in Europe, and a selection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, collected by the Medici. If time allows and the group expresses interest, we will also take a peek in the Costume Gallery, which houses selections of the past 500 years of high Italian fashion.
Beyond the Palace
By the end of the walk, weather permitting, we'll wander into the beautiful Boboli Gardens, whose construction was started in 1549, under Grand Duke Cosimo I. We'll discuss how the gardens, once home to an ancient quarrying yard, whose stone was used for the Palace itself, are in themselves an expression of the Medici's power.
The main focus, and therefore the majority of the time, will be spent on the painting collection. Other areas of the Pitti, including the Boboli Gardens, will be visited time and weather permitting. Those with a strong interest in garden history may be interested in our Florence Secret Garden Tour